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Star amends petition in Madras HC, seeks dismissal of TRAI’s tariff order

MUMBAI: Star India and Vijay Television have amended their petition in the Madras High Court by adding a new prayer for setting aside the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) tariff order and interconnection regulation.

The broadcaster has contended that TRAI does not have the jurisdiction to regulate TV channel pricing. Earlier, the two parties earlier maintained that TRAI had overstepped its jurisdiction and violated the Copyright Act, which deals with all aspects of exploitation and monetisation of content.

TRAI had notified the tariff order and interconnection regulation on 3 March after the Supreme Court gave it the go ahead. The SC had earlier stated that the Madras HC can continue to hear the issue of jurisdiction.

While retaining most of the recommendations, TRAI has removed the genre-wise price ceiling. The authority has said that any channel that is priced above Rs 19 cannot be part of the bouquet.

The HC had earlier disallowed the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) from impleading in the matter.

The matter has now been posted for hearing on 15 March.

In December 2016, Star and Vijay had challenged TRAI’s jurisdiction to fix price of content. The Madras HC ordered TRAI to maintain status quo.

Irked by the order, TRAI filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the SC, which allowed the regulator to frame regulations. However, the same would have to be placed before the apex court before notifying.

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